I Am Accepted Therefore I Obey

I made this point before we celebrated the Lord’s Supper on 10/27

This is a false gospel:

I obey, therefore I am accepted.

Looking to the crucified and resurrected Christ, the true gospel fuels this way of living:

I am accepted, therefore I obey.

As one person mentioned, “This is classic Tim Keller,” and that is exactly right. I am very much indebted to the clear gospel thinking of Tim Keller. His books, Counterfeit Gods, The Meaning of Marriage, Gospel in Life, and The Reason for God, have made a profound impact on my understanding of God and the gospel. I return at least one a year to this sermon, “Blessed Self-Forgetfulness” and try regularly to examine myself using this article, “All of Life is Repentance.”

When my heart is hard and legalistic or guilty and weighed down, I look to Tim Keller to unpack the gospel is fresh ways. I hope you see the influence.

Don’t Merely Follow Jesus

“There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. The first is by saying, ‘I am going to live my life the way I want.’ The second is described by Flannery O’Connor, who wrote about one of her characters, Hazel Motes, that ‘he knew that the best way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.’ If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and save you then ironically, you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model, and helper but you are avoiding him as Savior. You are trusting in your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your standing with God. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus” (Tim Keller, The Reason for God).

Trying to save yourself by following Jesus is a false gospel.

1 Peter 3:18, The Death of Christ

Main Point: Christ suffered for our sin and rose again to restore us to God.

Prayer

Thank you, God for gospel opportunities this week in our homes, at school, and at work.

Please cause the truth we have shared to lead people to repent and believe the gospel. Draw our neighbors to Christ. Cause our neighbors to be born again. Use us.

As we look to the week ahead, give us courage.

As we look into your Word, give us joy in the faith. Help us to grow and mature and gain strength. We know it is true that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We want to glory in Christ and what he has done. We come to You now through Him.

Unite us as the church. Give us clarity so that we are of one mind striving side by side for the sake of the gospel.

Unite us in one mind so that we know one another and care for one another. Everywhere we look there are things that tempt us to fear. Be with us so that we do not fear suffering. Be with us so that we are refreshed and know how to respond to each situation.

Member and Missionary Prayer

Church- guide us as we consider Jay Collier as an elder. Help each member understand the responsibility to affirm and support godly undershepherds, pastors who care for souls. Give us unity and wisdom for this decision we will make next week.

Speak O Lord. Let your church arise. Amen

 

We are over half way through our six part sermon series on how to share the gospel. I hope you are gaining courage as we go. We start with creation and Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” God is worthy of honor and obedience because he is wonderful and all that he has created is wonderful. The problem is we turned away from God and ruined every wonderful thing. Sin is explained in Romans 3:10-11 with the words, “None is righteous, no not one. No one understands, no one seeks for God, all have turned aside.”

And God is not going to let his world, the world he created, stay on this path. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that face judgment.” There are two options on judgment day. One, you can trust your self and your good works. Or two, you can trust Christ and his good work. We want to find ways to communicate the fact that sinful people cannot make themselves righteous. You can’t make dirty stained hands clean by rubbing them together. Purification comes from an outside source. We are a people who trust Christ. He has made us clean.

This sermon from 1 Peter 3 and next week’s sermon from 1 Peter 1 explain what Jesus has done and why he is able to make us clean. These sermons are meant to clarify the power of Christ and why he is able to restore us to God. Let’s read this simple and glorious verse, 1 Peter 3:18…

I. The gospel of Jesus Christ

The gospel is the good news that Christ has suffered for our sin and rose again to restore us to God.

  • Christ

Now, when you are sharing the gospel you need to try to figure out how much your friend knows about Jesus. The more a person knows, the more I am willing to emphasize from the Bible. So, if a person has a basic understanding of the Bible and Old Testament history, it would be beneficial to talk with them about how Isaiah describes the Christ, the Messiah, as a suffering servant.

Who is the Christ of 1 Peter 3:18? He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 52 and 53. The background of 1 Peter 3:18 is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Peter wrote to a biblically informed people. He built on what they already knew. Bring in these complimentary passages if they will help and not distract your friend.

If a person has little to no understanding of the Bible, you may simply turn to 1 Peter 1:1 and show him that Peter is talking about Jesus when he talks about the Christ. Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ. The point is, when talking about Jesus, work to understand where the person you are talking with is coming from. Don’t assume too much and don’t complicate ideas. After sharing 1 Peter 3:18 you can ask, ‘Do you know who the Christ is?” And then respond according to their answer.

In our progression we are talking about the Christ who is Jesus, the Son of God, and the suffering servant promised by Isaiah the prophet. Jesus is the Christ who suffered.

  • Christ suffered

The commentary for what it means to suffer is given to us in several Bible translations. Some translations have the word “died”. Christ suffered once for sins. Christ died once for sins. This is a reference to the cross of Christ. The end of 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that the Christ was put to death in the flesh. The suffering recorded in this verse is a reference to the abuse and torment endured by Jesus with its climax in his death on the cross.

Christ suffered. So what?

  • Christ suffered as our sufficient sacrifice

Look at the words, “Christ also suffered once for sins.” We’re camping out on the phrase, “suffered once.” This word once is emphatic. It means once and never to be repeated; once and never again. On the cross Jesus finished, once and for all time, the payment required by his Father for our sin. God said, “It is finished.”

The sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross was not a temporary fix or a hopeful solution. It is blasphemous to think God was just giving it his best shot and hoping it works out. The cross of Christ is the sufficient, perfect, final, full, adequate, competent, ample, plenteous sacrifice. The Father is pleased to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and we are pleased to receive Jesus’ sacrifice.

Now, what if the person you are talking with doesn’t believe Jesus is the sufficient sacrifice for our sins? Where do you go? Work through the gospel of Mark and point out the proofs that Jesus is God. He has authority over creation, sickness, demons, and death. Go to Colossians 1 or Hebrews 1 and work to help your friend understand the person and work of Jesus so that your friend can see and enjoy the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for sins. Christ is our sufficient sacrifice because he is God. As God,

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sins

We’re just quoting 1 Peter 3:18 now, “For Christ also suffered once for sins.” There was a deliberate end in mind when the Triune God ordained the cross. The purpose of the cross was to provide a sufficient sacrifice for sins.

Ask your friend, “have you ever sinned?” Talking about Romans 3:10-11 may have trigged a bit of confession on his part. If there is no understanding of personal sin you can go 10 commando on them. Use Jesus’ use of the 10 commandments to help your friend come to realize his sin. Have you ever told a lie or stolen something? Have you ever been angry? Jesus said anger is the equivalent to murder. Have you ever lusted after a woman? Jesus said lust is the same as adultery. With the compassion of a doctor looking for symptoms in order to provide the perfect remedy, you are looking for an awareness of sin in order to apply the gospel. We see Jesus more clearly when we see our sin.

Christ suffered once for our sin. Christ suffered once for sins. Christ did not suffer for his own sin. Christ, the just one suffered in the place of the unjust. Christ, the righteous one, suffered in the place of the unrighteous ones. Here is the glorious promise of a substitute. The Father planned the substitute. The Son planned to be the substitute. The Spirit planned the substitute. Rest in this, God not only devised the sure means of your redemption, he also did everything necessary to secure your redemption.

Look at your hands. These hands of have done we wish we hadn’t done. We are stained by sin. What must we do to be clean? Put your hand in the nail-scarred hand. Believe Jesus died in your place for your sin. Since Jesus died and rose again, if you will confess your sin, God is faithful and just, he will forgive you of all your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. I cannot remove the stain, but Christ can. Christ provided the full and final payment and then he rose again.

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sin and rose again

We get the resurrection of Jesus from history and from the end of 1 Peter 3:18. I think the best understanding of “put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit” is death and resurrection. Jesus, who had a physical body, died and then he was raised with a glorified or spiritual body. He died in the flesh and then was raised three days later in the spirit. You may disagree with my understanding of “in the spirit” but ultimately you cannot believe the bible and disagree with the fact that Jesus died and then rose again on the third day.

Lord willing, we get to focus on the resurrection next week, so I won’t spend a great deal of time on the resurrection here. But, it is necessary that we affirm the fact that Jesus rose. 1 Peter 3:21 puts the resurrection on center stage. A good conscience, a purified conscience, is the product of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus died and was raised so that you and I can enjoy forgiveness.

And forgiveness is not an end in itself. Forgiveness is glorious and wonderful and liberating. Forgiveness from Jesus before God helps us sleep at night and go seek restoration with our friends, family, neighbors, teammates, and coworkers. Forgiveness is awesome, and forgiveness is a means to an end.

  • Christ suffered as our sacrifice for sin and rose again to restore us to God

1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”

Forgiveness is like a backstage pass. Forgiveness is clearance to get in. You and I aren’t worthy to be in the presence of God. We have turned aside. We have traded God for weak and temporary trinkets. Our hands are stained with sin. We don’t get in. But Jesus gives us his credentials. Jesus gives us his pass. Jesus, by his righteousness, gets us in. Jesus restores us to God.

But too often we live life with our back stages passes stuck in our back pockets. Church, restoration to God is a present reality meant to be enjoyed.

Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Jesus didn’t die and rise again so that you can limp around this life weighed down by the memory of your sins and failures. Jesus didn’t die and rise again so you can pretend your sin and failure didn’t happen. Jesus died and rose again so that you can humbly admit your sin before God and, having received his forgiveness, go and seek reconciliation with those you have wronged.

Jesus died and was raised so that you can confidently draw near to God in prayer anytime anywhere and get the mercy and grace for your time of need (Heb 4:16).

Jesus died and rose again because we can’t make it on our own. I can’t do one thing on my own. Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing (John 15:5). With Jesus I have the forgiveness and righteousness I need to be restored to God. With God I have everything I need to do life and be godly.

Yes, Jesus will save us on judgment day. Yes, Jesus will stand with us as we give an account to God. Yes, what Jesus started he will bring to completion. Jesus is trustworthy. But let’s not sell Jesus short. Jesus is what we need for the next life and for this life.

In evangelism we are explaining why Jesus is necessary for us to do life the way we are doing it. In evangelism you need to put words of explanation onto your life of joy.

Look up a couple of verses to 1 Peter 3:15, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

The right use of Christ, honoring Christ as holy in your heart, produces joy because Jesus provides access to God. It is there, doing all of life in the presence of God, that hope is fueled and people begin to wonder. Why do you treat mean people with such kindness? Why do you not give up? Why are you at peace when everyone else is freaking out? Give me a reason for the hope that is in you. The reason is Christ crucified and raised to restore me to God.

II. Two important questions

  • Are you doing the work of an ambassador?

2 Corinthians 5 tells us that Jesus reconciled us Christians to God and then gave us the ministry of reconciliation. God saved you so that through your words the gospel can be shared with others and they too can be restored to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

For some of you this is new, for some of you this is a good reminder. The reason you have children is so that you can be Christ’s ambassador to them. The reason we have neighbors is so that we can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. The reason we have coworkers and teammates is so that we can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. The reason we have clients and customers is so that we can be can be Christ’s ambassadors to them. God’s design is for you to love the people around you, share the gospel with them, and implore them to be reconciled to God. Invite them to taste the joy that you have found. Are you doing the work of an ambassador? You can, with Christ you have all you need to be a bold witness.

Last question

  • Have you trusted Christ to restore you to God?

Your Creator has set the day of judgment and you will be judged for your sin. Its your choice. You can continue on the path you are on. You can keep running away from God. You can keep doing things your own way. You can keep trying hard to take care of yourself. You can do that. Or, you can stop running and stop hiding. Stop running away from your sin and weakness. Stop hiding from God. Stop trying to be the one who has it all together. Stop trying to be the one who is strong. Step into the light. Confess your sin. Confess your weakness. Believe in Jesus. He died and rose again to restore you to God. Jesus died and rose again so that you can do life with the love, acceptance, and power of God. Are you struggling? There is power for you through Christ. Have you trusted Christ to restore you to God?

You can today. Pray. Pray to God because Jesus died for your sin. Pray to God because Jesus was raised from the grave. Pray to God because Jesus did all of this to bring you right now to God. Pray and then come and tell us so we can celebrate with you. Come and confess your faith in Jesus Christ. Come and ask to be baptized.

The love of Jesus is deep. Your sins cannot plumb the depths of Jesus’ love. The love of Jesus is strong. Your weak hands are no match for his sovereign power. Let’s pray to the God who loves us and then let’s sing to the God who loves us.

 

 

I need to read this again and again

A. W. Tozer in “The Old Cross and the New”.

“From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life; and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique — a new type of meeting and new type of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as of the old, but its content is not the same, and the emphasis not as before.

“The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into the public view the same thing the world does, only a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

“The new cross does not slay the sinner; it re-directs him. It gears him to a cleaner and jollier way of living, and saves his self-respect…The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

“The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross. The old cross is a symbol of DEATH. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took the cross and started down the road has already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life re-directed; he was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise; modified nothing; spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely, and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with the victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

“The race of Adam is under the death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear, or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him, and then raising him again to newness of life.

“That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life to a higher plane; we leave it at the cross….

“We, who preach the gospel, must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern entertainment. We are not diplomats, but prophets; and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum.”

The Biblical Evangelist, November 1, 1991, p. 11.

The Gospel

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11                                       1/28/2018

Main Point: Believing the gospel changes us.

We are looking again at the core values of this church family. These are the things we cherish. But, what does that mean?

Well, why did my lawn mower sleep in the garage while my suburban slept outside? Because I cherished the mower more than the Suburban. This is a statement of worth. That mower was worth twice as much as the Suburban. I cherished it because of its surpassing worth.

Why do I cherish my wedding ring? It’s not worth much. After I lost my expensive wedding ring, somewhere between Autozone, Lowes, and the attic overhead, I was given a replacement of lesser financial value. Though the ring is of little monetary value, the ring is cherished because it reminds me of something of great worth. This ring reminds me of my wife and the gift of marriage. My wedding ring reminds me of powerful truths, so it is significant. Significance makes this ring valuable and we cherish valuable things.

And why do I cherish my coffee maker? It’s not worth much and there are no meaningful memories attached to it. I cherish the coffee maker because it is useful. Every morning, like a team player, that coffee maker produces a hot beverage that I find tasty and useful. I cherish it because it is useful. We cherish what is valuable, significant, and useful.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 preaches the gospel and proves the worth of the gospel. The gospel is valuable, the gospel is significant, and the gospel is useful. Let me show you why we cherish the gospel

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

  1. To begin, We must define the gospel biblically (3-5)
    1. Jesus died for our sins and was buried

There was absolutely no doubt in the first century about the death of Jesus. Everyone in Jerusalem knew Jesus died. No Roman soldier, no Jewish leader, believed Jesus was merely hurt on the cross and then walked it off. The death of Jesus was an assumed fact. What was debated was the purpose of that death and if he actually rose again. Let’s talk purpose.

Why did Jesus die? Look at verse 3. This is of greatest importance. Jesus died for what reason? Jesus died for our sins. Jesus died because of our rebellion. Jesus died because we love and cherish the wrong things. Jesus died. Jesus died for our sins. If we take a step back, Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus paid our debt, but who did Jesus pay? Jesus paid the penalty we owe to God because we turn away from God. God built into the universe the principle that the wages of sin is death. When Jesus died, he paid the debt we owe to God.

Have you ever owed someone money? Have you ever gotten behind on the payment? It’s awkward being around that person when you owe but have not paid. One of the reasons worship, bible study, and prayer can be awkward is because we try to draw near to God without drawing near through Jesus. Without Jesus we should feel out of place. Our sin debt is paid only in and through him. We worship God through Jesus Christ. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Let’s take another step back. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, so we can enjoy reconciliation with God. Jesus died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, so that right now and for all eternity, we can enjoy God. Jesus’ death reconciles us to God by taking away all our sin. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. The gospel declares Jesus died for our sins and was buried then

  1. Jesus rose again and appeared to hundreds

Look back at 1 Corinthians 15:3. Jesus died for our sins according to God’s plan, according to the Scriptures. Jesus was then buried, but on the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. God the Father was not watching the death of Jesus freaking out wondering, “What are we going to do now?”. The Father and Spirit were loving the Son and telling all of creation, “Watch this.” On the third day, according to plan, Jesus rose from the grave. To prove the validity of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples, more than 500 brothers, the apostles, and he even appeared to Paul. Jesus has conquered sin and the grave for all those who will believe in him. Let’s think about what we’ve seen.

  1. The gospel is individual and inconceivably vast

Think about someone cooking you a personal meal precisely suited to your every need. It is the perfect meal with the exact nutritional content you need, and it is pleasurable to eat. That’s the gospel. Jesus is so good. The gospel is a perfect fit for you. But also think about Jesus feeding 5,000 men plus women and children. That one little meal, pleasant and sufficient for you, is pleasant and sufficient for all. We must be biblical and balanced cherishing the individual and the corporate aspects of Jesus’ redeeming work.

Individually, the gospel is the good news that you can be restored to God through faith in the righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the power of God that saves you.

Corporately, the gospel is the good news that God is forming his forever family, his church, through the person and work of His Son and Spirit. The gospel creates, unites, and empowers the church.

Holistically, the gospel is the good news that God will make all things new in heaven and on earth. This broken world with all its broken systems will one day be renewed and made perfect. We will be forever united as God’s glorious family. Our future is one of the unmediated presence of God, the fullness of joy, the fruitfulness of work, and the absence of sin and temptation. The gospel declares that you are being made new and the gospel declares all things will be made new. We believe an individual, corporate, and inconceivably vast gospel.

Now that we have a little more clarity on the content and scope of the gospel, let’s look at what God wants us to do with the gospel.

  1. We must use the gospel faithfully (1-2)

Now we’re looking at 1 Corinthians 15:1&2

  1. The gospel must be preached

The good news of Christ’s death for sins and resurrection from the grave must be proclaimed. Verse 1, Paul is reminding the church of the gospel he had previously preached to them. Verse 2, Paul is exhorting them to keep believing the gospel he preached to them. Verse 3, Paul delivered to them the message of Christ’s righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return. Literally, Paul gospeled them with the gospel.

We are being faithful with the gospel when we are preaching it, sharing it, explaining it, and defending it. The gospel is a set message. The gospel message was promised by God, lived out through Jesus, delivered to the apostles, and preserved in the Scriptures. We don’t get to define the gospel. We preach the ancient and apostolic gospel of Jesus Christ. But that’s not enough

  1. The gospel must be received and believed

Verse 1, Paul preached the gospel and they received it. The end of verse 2 tells us the church believed the gospel. Remember the progress of salvation in Romans 10:14-15. God sends a preacher. The preacher preaches the gospel of Christ crucified for sins. A person hears the gospel, believes the gospel, and then cries out to Jesus for salvation. Receiving and believing the gospel are nothing less than understanding what Jesus has done and calling out for salvation from God’s wrath. Jesus save me!

Have you done that? Have you cried out to Jesus to save you from the wrath of God for your sins? Are you doing that? Are you depending constantly on Christ? Do it now. Trust Him.

A Christian is a person who feels the wrath of God for sin and calls out to Jesus for salvation from God’s wrath.

A Christian is a person who wants to be with God and trusts Jesus alone to get there.

A Christian is a person who trusts in the righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ.

This belief defines saving faith, but it also defines what it looks like to stay in the faith. We keep believing. Hear this,

  1. The gospel must be held on to

Look with me at 1 Corinthians 15:1. The gospel is preached, received, and stood in. Stood in? Christians stand in the gospel; it’s a current everyday practice. Gospel standing. Paul asks them, “Hey watcha doing?” and the church replies, “You know, standing in the gospel.” What does that look like? Verse 2. Standing in the gospel goes with being saved by the gospel and being saved by the gospel goes with holding fast to the gospel and all this works together to make faith fruitful and not empty.

The gospel is to Christianity what oxygen is to the human body. If you stop breathing, if you decide you’ve found a better way to survive, if you stumble across something more glorious than breathing, well, you’ll stop breathing and die. Your previous breathing will be in vain if you stop breathing.

Standing in the gospel, believing the gospel, and holding onto the gospel is the only way of life for Christians. Just as a body cannot survive without constant breathing, so the Christian cannot survive without holding onto the gospel.

If you seek your identity in something other than the gospel, if you depend on something or someone other than Jesus for life, then you will die. If you let go of Jesus and grab onto something else to feel right or be right, then you will die.

Joy and life come through Christ alone. Salvation is nothing less than an enduring union with Christ. Hold fast to the one you believe in! He is infinitely glorious and sufficient! Praise God he is holding onto us!

Now, what does this look like? We must define the gospel biblically, we must use the gospel faithfully, and

  • We must constantly work out the implications of the gospel

Do you remember the time when the apostle Paul reproved the apostle Peter? The story is in Galatians 2. Peter was not walking in step with the gospel. Peter’s conduct was contradicting Peter’s doctrine. He believed one thing and did the opposite. What Peter believed about the Gentiles and the way Peter treated the Gentiles did not match. Specifically, the way Peter ate dinner contradicted the gospel and he needed to be corrected. God used the apostle Paul to correct Peter’s application of the gospel and the Spirit preserved the story so we can learn from Peter’s mistake. We must walk in step with the gospel.

What I want to do now is take each of those things we do with the gospel and try to show you how they work. I want to help you walk out these truths in your mind, your house, and in your work.

  1. Preaching the gospel looks like explaining the biblical gospel

Jonah is a bad example of preaching the gospel. It looks like all Jonah said was “Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4). Explaining the gospel looks like the book of Romans. Romans is a letter in which a missionary is explaining his gospel in order to secure the support of the gospel believing church. Are you explaining the gospel in your home? Are you explaining the gospel at work? We must do better than Jonah. We must make the gospel clear.

4 good resources- The Bible by God, The Gospel by Ray Ortlund, What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, and The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. Dig down deep into the gospel. It gets sweeter and stronger the further you go.

Make sure you are speaking the gospel and that your preaching is biblical and understandable. Next,

  1. Receiving the gospel looks like repentance and faith

Christians are sorry people. We see our sin, we see the atoning work of Christ, and we say, “I’m sorry.” We say, “I’m sorry” to God and we say, “I’m sorry” to one another. Receiving and believing the gospel looks like faith in Christ crucified and raised, which leads to repentance. If you can’t say, “I’m sorry,” you’re probably not a Christian. If you aren’t regularly saying, “I’m sorry,” you’re probably not a growing Christian. Repent and believe. Keep repenting and keep believing. Receiving the gospel looks like repentance and faith

  1. Standing in the gospel looks like constantly touching the gospel-base

When you play tag it is important to determine two things: first, who is it? And second, what is base? When you are a soldier it is important to know where base is because base is safety, family, and provisions.

Think about it from another angle. What do you constantly check on? What base do you constantly check to make sure you are ok? Do you constantly check your text messages, Facebook, or Instagram to make sure you are being liked and not missing out? I have to check. I have to touch base. Do you constantly check the news, your physical health, or your progress at work? I have to check. I have to know where I am. Or, do you constantly touch the gospel-base? This is who I am- a redeemed and loved child of God.

Stand in the gospel. Hold fast to the gospel. Keep believing the gospel.

  1. Being saved by the gospel looks like gradual transformation

Christianity is a glorious cycle of looking at a situation asking, “What do God and the gospel have to do with this?” and then living life based on God and the gospel. I wish initial faith led immediately to perfection but it’s not the case. Saving faith connects us to Christ who justifies us perfectly in that instance and immediately begins to sanctify us.

Our response is to look to God for direction and depend on God to empower change. In singleness, marriage, and parenting it looks like, “God I can’t do this, but you said do this, so I will depend on you to do this.” That every day every moment of the day gospel dependence fuels change. Knowing what to do and having the strength to do it are both glorious gospel miracles.

Will God take it away and make it better? Yes, in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, the trumpet will sound, Jesus will return, and all things will be made new. Until that day, the saved will keep trusting the gospel for gradual transformation. Being saved by the gospel looks like gradual transformation and

  1. Being reminded of the gospel looks like push notifications

Push notifications are the bells, alarms, and alerts that come from smart phones. A more accurate name is pushy notifications. A pushy person is always telling you what to do. Push notifications are pushy- do this! read this! reply to this! Push notifications break into our routines and redirect us towards what is important. At least that should be the case. Instead of Instagram push notifications, we need gospel push notifications. We need to be reminded constantly that we are loved by God, we are justified by Christ, we are empowered by the Spirit, and we have a glorious future. The world is pulling us away. We have to push back.

We need every day push notifications from the Word and from our brothers and sisters (Heb 3:13). Every week we need a push notification from the church (Heb 10:24-25). We gather to remind one another- this is the triune God, this is the gospel, this is who we are. You are forgiven and loved. Keep going. Keep believing. Keep holding fast to the gospel.

Look around this room. These brothers and sisters are having a hard time loving their families and their neighbors. You need to stir them up. These brothers and sisters are ready to quit. You need to stir them up to keep doing good works. Christians connect every day and every week. Why? Jesus is coming soon. The day of his return is drawing near.

Maybe you should set a reminder on your phone, a reminder that goes off every now and again, that simply says, “Jesus is coming.” Start texting your friends and family, “Jesus is coming.” Remind the sufferer, Jesus is coming. Remind those who rejoice, Jesus is coming. Text your pastors, “Jesus is coming.”

Because of all this, repent and believe the gospel. The good news is that Jesus is ready to take you in or take you back. Right now, by faith, with all your junk. Jesus will restore you. Let’s believe the gospel, let’s cherish the gospel, together.

Christianity

A Christian is a person who feels the wrath of God for sin and calls out to Jesus for salvation from God’s wrath.

A Christian is a person who wants to be with God and trusts Jesus alone to get there.

A Christian is a person who believes the good news of Christ’s righteous life, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and soon return.

Are you a Christian?